A Complete Guide to Cannabutter: What It Is, How to Make It, What to Do With It

Cannabutter allows you to make your own personal cannabis-infused recipes and edibles. Here’s everything you need to know about making and using cannabutter.

If you’re interested in obtaining the benefits of medical marijuana but would rather avoid the drawbacks associated with smoking, you’ll want to know about cannabutter.

Cannabutter can be used to make an array of medical marijuana edibles, which are food products that have been infused with cannabis, allowing you to get the effects of cannabinoids by eating.

Here we offer a complete overview of cannabutter, giving you all the information you need to know to incorporate the beneficial cannabis-infused food product into your medical marijuana regimen.

What is Cannabutter?

Cannabutter is traditional unsalted dairy-based butter that has been infused with activated medical marijuana flower. Infusing cannabis into butter opens an array of opportunities for cooking with cannabis.

Technically, making cannabutter is a cannabis extraction method where the plant’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are pulled from the plant and infused into the butter fats.

The cannabinoids in cannabis — like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) – are not naturally soluble in water, but they are in certain carrier oils. The fat in butter acts as a carrier for the cannabinoids and other compounds so that once they’re ingested they can be delivered to the bloodstream.

What are the Benefits of Cannabutter?

Medical marijuana patients often prefer marijuana edibles made with cannabutter because they offer more extended and intense effects compared to other types of medical marijuana products. If you’re looking for long-term relief, cannabutter-infused food products are ideal.

The cannabinoids infused into the cannabutter, once absorbed, interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a regulatory network for keeping many of the body’s functions – like sleep, mood, appetite, metabolism, and pain response – in balance.

The effects of cannabutter marijuana edibles are delayed because they have to be digested before the compounds can reach the bloodstream. Often times, the effects of cannabutter edibles are not noticeable until 30 to 90 minutes after they are consumed.

Once the effects of cannabutter edibles do set in, they’ll typically last between 4 and 12 hours, depending on the concentration of THC, how much is consumed, and your metabolic rate and body weight.

Marijuana edibles made with cannabutter also offer a more lung-friendly option for medical marijuana patients compared to smoking weed. Smoking marijuana, like other plants, exposes your lungs to carbon monoxide and other byproducts and potential toxins.

cannabutter how to make

How to Make Cannabutter

Making your own cannabutter is a relatively simple process. Pick a time when you know you have a free 3-4 hour period.

Before diving into how to make cannabutter, it’s important to understand that you’ll need to first decarboxylate your marijuana flower. Decarboxylation is a heating process that activates the cannabinoids in marijuana. You can learn how to decarboxylate your medical marijuana HERE.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own cannabutter:

  • ½ to 1 ounce decarboxylated marijuana flower
  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 4 cups water

Directions to make cannabutter:

  1. Cut butter into several pieces.
  2. Combine butter pieces, water, and marijuana flower into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat. Continue cooking on low for 3-4 hours.
  3. Gently stir mixture every 30 minutes or so with a metal spoon. It will gradually thicken as water cooks off.
  4. Once the mixture appears glossy and is more dense because most of the water has evaporated, remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly. At this point, the majority of the cannabinoids will be infused into the butter.
  5. Once mixture is safe to handle, pour the cannabutter into a metal colander or strainer lined with a double layer of cheesecloth. Use the back of a spatula to press down on the butter to drain it into a heatproof airtight container. Discard the cannabis caught in the cheesecloth.
  6. Use the spatula to scrape any residual butter left in the plan into the container. Secure the container’s lid firmly and place the container of cannabutter into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to let is solidify.

You may find other cannabutter recipes that call for shorter cook times, but it’s recommended that you follow the “low and slow” method when making cannabutter: low temperature and slow cook time.

Allowing the cannabis to gradually infuse into the butter for several hours will more thoroughly activate marijuana’s cannabinoids – including THC and CBD – without scorching the flower.

What to Do with Cannabutter

Now that you’ve made your cannabutter, you’re ready to make some cannabis-infused edibles.

Cannabutter can be used to make a nearly endless list of cannabis-infused edibles, like:

  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Brownies
  • Chocolates
  • Muffins
  • Banana bread
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Pasta sauces

marijuana bread


Cannabutter can be incorporated easily into any recipe that calls for traditional butter, allowing you to add the ingredient into foods that align with your personal preferences and dietary needs.

Use the cannabutter as a topping to baked potatoes or pancakes, stir a teaspoon to a tablespoon into your morning coffee, or melt and drizzle it over a bowl of popcorn.

If you have extra cannabutter, keep it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Provided it’s kept from exposure to air, it will keep in the fridge for several weeks and in the freezer for up to six months.

Learn More about Medical Marijuana

With medical marijuana now legal in more than half of the United States, more and more patients are looking into how to incorporate the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis.

You can learn more about medical marijuana, including how to grow your own plants at home, by visiting our Cannabis 101 page.

  • January 10, 2018
  • Eve Ripley